The purpose of the supernatural in Literary Works The purpose of the supernatural in literature can vary in function from story to story. The supernatural can be used to create a certain mood in writing or to enhance the dramatic effect of a story. The supernatural can also be used as the reasoning behind a story and act as the theme it centers on, creating a paranormal effect and a mystical experience for the reader.
In human nature there exists a morbid desire to explore the darker side of life. As human beings we make every effort to deny our curiosity in the things that frighten us, but deep down we secretly thrive on that cool rush of fear. Despite our efforts to maintain a balance of our emotions, we are a society of people who slow down to look at traffic accidents and find excitement in violence. Fear keeps our hearts pumping and endorphins rushing; it is an emotion that reminds us of our own mortality.
The authors Hawthorne, Jackson, Poe, and Gilman understand this human fascination with death and the unknown, and play upon this attraction. Their stories rely heavily on the supernatural, and our beliefs or disbeliefs in them.
The story, The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson is built on suspense, and the fact that you are never sure exactly what is going on until the end of the story. When the climax is finally reached you realize that she is describing a senseless act of evil and violence, and no reason or purpose is ever given behind it. This story has divine undertones, as if this act may be some sort of ritual performed to please "The Gods", in hopes for a prosperous harvest. But no significant reasoning is given, which leaves the readers open to develop...